Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jimmy Dartis, The Miser of Gallatin Valley

In 1899 Sheriff Fransham brought the frozen body of Jimmy Dartis into town from Dartis' ranch fifteen miles outside of Bozeman, Montana.  Jimmy Dartis (James E. Daughters) was born about 1828 a mile or two south of Delmar.  At the time of his death he was described In the Montana newspaper as;
Above Anaconda Standard 1899
Well anytime someone dies (with money)  in a faraway place there is always a lawyer about who will find a relative or two.   In this case Jay Williams of Salisbury Maryland made the trip personally to Montana to file papers for his clients; William E. Daughters, Ellen Young, Katherine Maddox, Alonzo B. Collins and Samuel J. Collins.  Eventually after another 5 years the estate was settled in their favor.   The paper work for the estate was extensive with a number of people giving dispositions for the heirs including Elijah Freeny, William L. Sirman and E. E. Jackson. 
Jimmy Dartis was James Daughters.  As stated in the dispositions the family was illiterate and accepted the phonetic spelling of their names so Darters and Dartis were frequent variations of the name Daughters.  In the dispositions it was stated Jimmy was the son of Samuel Daughters.  Samuel lived outside of Delmar in Somerset County (Later Wicomico County).  He had as children; Issaiah, James, Gillis, Nancy, Betsy and Sallie.  Samuel Daughters was born May 20 1771, a son of Hudson Daughters.  Samuel died June 22, 1858.  Samuel was married twice first to Lottie Lingo whom was the mother of the children.  Second, he married Harriet Vickers, who out lived him.

Jimmy was generally described as a tramp, more in love with money then his appearance, he would hang on to every cent he could get and beg clothing and food  from people instead of buying them.  He had spells of leaving the farm and traveling, he had been to Europe, he worked on oyster boats, he supposedly joined the Confederate army and after a spell decided to switch to the Union army.  He was successful in being rich but it did not seem to be of any use to him other than having it.

One of the stories given in the dispositions by Elijah Morris was “once before making a trip west he buried his money by the side of a cross fence and while he was gone his father moved the fence, cleaned up the fence row and when Jimmy came back his mark was gone and he could not find his money  and I do not know whether he ever did find his money.”
So is the money still buried on the old Samuel Daughters farm?

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